The Dragon's LairStarted by Eyun Manchu at Mar 15, 2021 11:03 AM
March 12, 1924
Time, of course, will tell in all things.
Some fifty-eight plus mile from Miami sits a string of islands between it and the Bahamas. One further to the south would appear to be uninhabited. However, there is a history, According to legend Cat Cay was given its name by pirates because of the shape of the island. Pirates such as Blackbeard and Henry Morgan were known to frequent this area of the Bahamas. Queen Victoria gave the original deed for the island to Captain William Henry Stuart in the year 1873.
(This island paradise has a long history of occupancy however, for our fictional purposes Southern Cat Cay shall be uninhabited since, say 1880 or so.)
It has several advantages for those who currently have taken ownership and occupancy of the island, on either side of the island, which is a mere one to one point five miles wide at its widest, are perfect landing spots for watercraft. The ownership brought in their own laborers who cut a strip for an airfield, and to build what would be called ‘The Dragon’s Lair.’ A massive, ornate structure that was hidden by the foliage of the jungle. Even with the sculpted dragon, which could only be seen from the air
Yet what was seen from the ground was simply the entrance. Through an unseen doorway, one proceeded down a well-lit and ventilated passageway to where there were several chambers and the main room behind large, ornate, doors. Of these chambers were six, off of three were storerooms, off of the others, suites of lesser rooms that housed a complement of royal guards, maintenance, housekeeping, kitchen staff, an ever-changing group of courtesans, and still others for guests.
The Main room I will simply say is all that a Quing Dynasty throne room should be. No one other than the Zhu, or Lord, whose name is unspoken, and those of his personal guard, servants, and those to whom he grants an audience is permitted inside. For all others allowed on the island, an intermediary will have to suffice.
It would be the home of the ‘Zhu,’ or Lord, of not only the island but of all the Chinese activity on the mainland, at least the eastern seaboard. There were others, of course, and there were treaties if you will. Non-aggression pacts were in place between all of these leaders so that ‘Shangrén’ or businessmen could move about freely, provided there was ample notification of all parties involved.
Here is where the deals are made, the transactions completed and the payments disbursed in all things. That would include the pittance for Professor Curtiz. A man selected for his reputation, knowledge of the Chinese people and their languages. An inspired student of the Dynasties whose appearance to collect artifacts for the university would go almost unnoticed by those who had been disrupting the flow through San Francisco.
He was acquired, a position was created for him, his debts were made for him. All that was Professor Curtiz along the way was at the direction of the Zhu. He will be of great service to the Zhu, and he can become wealthy for his service. We shall see.
The Zhu wants for nothing, there is nowhere he is not free to go, a perfect life. One that took a long time to earn. Though not of royal blood, he represents the dynasties, even though the last Imperial Government, the Qing dynasty fell in 1911-1912. Here, in your United States, it continues. TBC
All of life is a dream walking, all of death is a going home.
Meanwhile, on the mainland,
“You will take this to the Zhu? Out to the island?” Wu Fong asked hurriedly.
“I cannot. It would not be my place to request such an audience.” Chen Long responded. “Besides, as you know the Zhu is not fond of me in the first place. And so costs have risen, do you not think the Zhu knows of this already?”
“The Zhu knows of the rise in prices of our product. He is well aware.” Hung Xiu stated. “You may make the journey, but he will not see you. You may try.”
“As I thought, a bit on the useless side of things. And our new American friends? Hardly as rude as Missus Von Ep.” Chen asked, he had no love for the foreign woman and that was evident.
“Ah yes, the American and his ‘gentleman’s gentleman.’ Though I must say Raken Petroff is an interesting study. Not as docile as he would appear. He carries it off well. But then, so does the Professor. They will be ready when called on, I can assure you. Both are enjoying the fruits of the agreement.” Hung Xiu observed.
“Will the Zhu settle the cost factor before he deploys the Wàiguó rén (foreigners) to the west coast?” Wu Fong asked.
“Of course, Wu Fong! He is not a doddering old fool as you might believe.” The voice was not the soft smooth voice one would associate with Miss Lita Zu, it was her business voice, which was of a harsher no-nonsense tone. “Yes he is well aware of what has happened in China as far as price goes, and yes, both Curtiz and Petroff will be exactly what is needed.” She paused, enjoying the change in their composure.
“But there is more pressing business at hand, it would seem that there are those Chinese that would try their hand at meddling where they do not belong, which then becomes a threat to us all.” She informed them. “We have some freelancers that have some connections getting drugs on the streets. This will never do.”
“Excuse me please Miss Zu. There are Chinese dealers of drugs outside our domain? Dealing with the Báirén (Whites)?” Chen Long asked as politely as possible. “It would be my pleasure to locate them, and say, close their shop for them.” It was his type of job. He had the men to accomplish it quickly and quietly, not like the loud, brash Meiguó rén (Americans) with their ‘Tommy-guns.’
Her voice turned soft, “Yes Chen Long, that would please not only me but the Zhu as well. He has some concerns about these things.”
“As you wish, Miss Zu.” Long responded. “I shall report back when it is taken care of. Gentlemen.” He said bowing to them, “Miss Zu.” Bowing to her, and then taking his leave.
Each looked to the other as they were unaware of such practices happening in Miami.
“Gentlemen, you should be more aware of our surroundings. We do not wish open warfare with the Tú (Gangsters) it would do neither of us any good. So, you may go about your business now.” And with that, she left the room, followed by the others.
Time, of course, will tell in all things.
And so, enter The Lords of Death. It would appear that whatever the situation with the renegade Chinese had been, a message had been sent. Of course, the same message was meant for the interlopers, the Americans, in this case. Though it was to be assumed that they would not accept any message, threat, a promise of violence, or anything else. They would continue their sales program to the Chinese wanting to enter the narcotics trade.
The Zhu had decreed there would be no dealing in Heroin. Opium, through the normal channels, would be acceptable. However, he had also decreed who would be providing the opium, and to whom. It would not be distributed willy-nilly on the streets of any city.
Of note, Chen Long had been summoned to the Cay Island by the Zhu to meet with him personally, regardless of the brewing storm at sea. There was a brewing storm in Miami that needed to be dealt with. The Zhu was not one to interfere with the Irish, Italian or Jewish mobs. What they did, what they were after were none of his concern. Neither did he intrude on their business fronts. He expected, rather, demanded the same in return.
Then too, there are things that even the organized crime bosses are unaware of, at least for now, a breakaway faction that will become a threat far worse than the Sorleys ever thought of becoming. The days of harmony, such as it was, are about to become days of tribulation and danger.
But I digress, a personal fault of mine. Chen Long has been elevated in the eyes of the Zhu. A difficult task at best, unless one is already in that state. There had never been what one would call a disagreement between them. It could best be summarized as a difference of opinion on how heavy the hand.